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The Eastern Echo Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Print Archive
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Review: The Used's 'Toxic Positivity' stays true to its name

This record is an excellent multitasker.

The state of emo music has matured in recent years. The fans grew up with the genre, and the bands have grown with them. The Used is no exception.

Background 

The Used, a Utah-based rock band, has been around for over two decades now. Their discography is endless, full of bangers and an edge sharp enough to cut through a diamond. As of right now, they are nine studio albums deep with no end in sight. 

The ninth record, "Toxic Positivity," which was released May 19, is living proof that the band is not stopping any time soon. Their sound is still theirs, just modernized. 

Album Highs 

"Toxic Positivity" prides itself in keeping the same vibe that The Used has stuck with most of their career, but adding a flare that has only recently become noticed within the music scene. An example of this comes in the track "House of Sand."

Lyrically, the song sticks with their style of moderately complex lyricism, but when keying into the instrumental, it comes off very bright. If it were a color, that song would be a pale yellow. The band is known for their heavy instrumental, so having a colorful track nearing the end of the record is unlike them. 

The order of the record is well done. It starts heavy and reminiscent of their original sound with “Worst I’ve Ever Been.” In the middle, it tones down slightly with “Cherry,” that is until the breakdown catches the listener off guard halfway through. The finishing tone of the record is light with “Giving Up,” and it leaves the listener feeling hopeful after the thirty-minute run time. 

Album Lows

While this record does a lot of things right, it does not come without flaws. The biggest gripe with this record is that a fair amount of the songs are repetitive in their lyrics. 

A prime example of this critique comes in one of the singles “Numb.” This track is musically strong, sticking with a sound that could be compared to a band like Bad Omens with its somber tone lingering even when the music picks up in the chorus. In the same breath, however, the lyrics don’t deviate in the chorus, which gets redundant after going through it a couple of times. Unfortunately, this repetition takes away from the powerful message about depression that the song is trying to convey.

Verdict

"Toxic Positivity" has a perfect balance of both words. This has many tracks that are littered with toxic emotions in their lyrics, but there is another side that does not give up hope. At the end of the day, this record is well worth the listen, whether the listener is a long-time fan or checking in for the first time. 

Highlights of the record include:

”Cherry” - 8.5/10

”Dopamine” - 8/10

”Headspace” - 7/10

This record overall is an 8/10.